As a frequent user of online reservation service OpenTable, Ben’s girlfriend had earned a fair number of loyalty points. She turned these in for a $50 voucher, which she promptly forgot to use. Oh, well, her loss, right? Not exactly.
There’s big business in tracking web browsing, and temptation to grab more information than is legally acceptable. A lawsuit alleges a web analytics company and its clients stepped over the line in snooping on browsing habits, particularly of those who try to cover their tracks.
There’s no more pussyfooting around the bush. Reader Daniel snapped a picture of this sign on the front door of his local Best Buy of a sign that just comes right out and says, hey, if you want the price shown on the Best Buy website, we’ll be happy to sell you a computer that will connect to bestbuy.com so you can order it there and have it shipped to your house or held for in-store pickup. Ok, it doesn’t really say all that, but it does say that they’re not going to bother honoring the prices shown on the website within the store at all.
A company called Solve Media is rolling out a new CAPTCHA interface that requires you type in an ad slogan instead of a nonsense word, reports AdAge. Advertisers are looking for message comprehension,” says the company’s owner, “And you know what they say, ‘If you write something down, you remember it.'” And if you force a customer to repeat your slogan during an unrelated transaction, does he resent you for it?
I know credit card fraud is rampant, but I’m not sure sending full scans of your card through email is the proper way to fix things.
Steve’s TV buying experience with Target has not gone well. If he wants to try this a third time, the store is more than willing to let him, but they say he has to pay full price now and there’s still no guarantee a broken TV won’t show up on his doorstep.
Hey, remember when Google signed everyone up for Buzz without asking and revealed their private contact lists? The company has now settled a class action lawsuit brought by seven Gmail users. The BBC says that 30% will go to the legal team, while each of those seven users will get $2,500. The rest will not be turned into Google stickers or free AdSense ads for you, but instead will be “shared among organisations that promote online privacy.”
The group Consumer Watchdog is pushing hard for Congress to establish a “do not track” list for online consumers, which I’m all for. I’m not sure whether releasing a ridiculously unpleasant cartoon in Times Square is the right strategy, though–especially when you use the very service you’re warning people about.
According to a new ING Direct study, the word that most comes to mind when a hypothetical blind date partner is described as frugal is “smart.” Sadly, “sexy” only came to mind about 3.7% of the time, but at least you’ll have more chances: an eHarmony review commissioned by Ron Lieber at the New York Times “found that both men and women were 25 percent more likely to have a potential mate reach out to them if they identified themselves as a saver rather than a spender.”
You might think that a company like Mozy, which sells secure online backup services, would be able to troubleshoot common technical issues that are directly related to its business. After all, surely Heather isn’t the only customer to have problems with her initial backup hanging for several days in a row. But instead of offering useful assistance, Mozy’s tech support person told Heather that the problem was that “wireless internets don’t like lots of files flying through the air.” Wow, that must really cause problems with Mozy’s business model.
Gerry and his wife tried to buy a pair of sneakers that the JCPenney website had listed on sale. While other products were marked “online only,” this particular pair of sneakers was marked “also in stores,” so the couple assumed that the price would be the same. Naturally, the store’s employees refused to see the logic of this argument.
The FTC says a Toronto-based company called Internet Listing Service scammed thousands of U.S. consumers and small businesses by mailing invoices to them demanding payment for unnecessary domain registration services. The company was given a suspended judgment of over $4 million, based on “the total amount of consumer injury” caused, but in reality the people behind the scam have been ordered to pay $10,000 because that’s all the money they have left.
If you play games on the website Kongregate–its founders say 10 million players stop by every month–then congratulations, you’re about to become GameStop’s new BFF. There’s no word yet on how this will affect the Kongregate community; the site lets people play online games for free, and GameStop says that the its founders will continue to run things for now. If we start seeing offers to pre-order an upcoming online free game, I guess we’ll know the takeover is complete.